Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Power of Fellowship

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. (2 Timothy 1:3-5)

Permit a time of reflection…
My father was instrumental in establishing a mission church in a new subdivision not long after he returned from war and went to work for Carter Oil Co. in Tulsa, OK.  Soon after my brother was born, He and my mother moved our young family into the new frame house on Louisville Street.  That move established the neighborhood where I would grow up until the age of fourteen. 

At the same time, a church in Tulsa bought some property and began a mission on Harvard Avenue just a few blocks from my home.  The mission pastor, W. E. Smith, began to knock on doors in the neighborhood looking for those who would join with him to build a new congregation in what was to become the Parkland Baptist Church.  When he came to our house my parents welcomed him in and soon dedicated their lives to assist in building that church.  That decision established the fellowship and friends that I would have throughout my childhood and young adult years.

Sometimes I consider just who I might have been had those two things not occurred.  There is no question but that I am a product of those two decisions.  It was in that neighborhood and in the arms of that fellowship of believers that I learned of God and Christ’s gift on the cross for my life.  It was also there I was encouraged to follow the Lord in service as a minister.  They are the ones who displayed the love of God and taught me the truths of His Word through their lives and personal instruction.

When I went away to college, married and began my ministry years, I longed to go back and tell them about what they had done.  Every person I touch in ministry needs to know about Velma Wilburn, Joe Clevenger, Okie Hinnen, Gomer Haikey Doris Soost and so many others who believed in me and rejoiced in God’s call on my life.  They are my mentors of love and service.  It was from them I learned to pray, speak and serve. 

Possibly as you have read this your mind has wandered back to the days when you were young and went to church with your parents and discovered just this type of fellowship.  There are names you remember as well who were there to open their arms of love and share the love of Christ.  The names may be different but their mission was the same…to raise you up in the name of the Lord.

Today we have a great number of children and youth who enter our building.  Some come with parents and some do not, but all are our responsibility to nurture and grow into strong believers.  As I see them in the hallways and in the classrooms I can’t help but wonder if they have met Velma, Joe, Okie or any of the ones who made me feel important when I went to church.  You know I don’t mean them personally for most have gone on with dad to be with the Lord; but I pray their kindred spirits are here at NSBC.

We don’t easily forget those who valued us as children.  As a matter of fact, they almost assume a hero status.  I do trust that some will take the time to stoop down and get to know some of these special people who come here.  You might just become a hero to them.

Scripture to Claim:
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (Psalms 34:11)

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